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Photo illustration: Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Zoom agreed to enhance its security practices to settle allegations from the Federal Trade Commission that the video conferencing company misled consumers about the protections it offers.

The big picture: Zoom's security practices came under scrutiny by federal and state officials as its use exploded during the coronavirus pandemic. The settlement is aimed at better locking down Zoom meetings and user data against intruders.

Driving the news: The FTC voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the settlement, which requires Zoom to:

  • Establish a comprehensive security program that includes assessing potential risks and developing safeguards against those risks on an annual basis
  • Protect against unauthorized access to its network through safeguards such as ensuring its users can access multi-factor authentication
  • Review software updates for security flaws

What they're saying: A spokesperson for the company, which already made some pledges in the spring similar to many of the commitments made to the FTC, said in a statement, "[W]e have already addressed the issues identified by the FTC. Today's resolution with the FTC is in keeping with our commitment to innovating and enhancing our product as we deliver a secure video communications experience."

Background: The FTC alleged that Zoom misled users by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption when the company had the ability to access the content of meetings.

  • The FTC also accused Zoom of secretly installing software, "ZoomOpener," as part of an update in 2018 that bypassed an Apple Safari browser safeguard.
  • “Zoom’s security practices didn’t line up with its promises, and this action will help to make sure that Zoom meetings and data about Zoom users are protected," Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

Yes, but: The FTC's Democrats said the agency's settlement did not go far enough.

  • "When Zoom’s user base rapidly expanded, its failure to prioritize privacy and security suddenly posed a much more serious risk in terms of scope and scale," Democrat Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said in a dissent. "This proposed settlement, however, requires Zoom only to establish procedures designed to protect user security and fails to impose any requirements directly protecting user privacy."

Flashback: Zoom previously agreed to implement security measures this summer to settle a probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Zoom.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech at war over privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world's biggest tech firms are at each other's throats over how to manage data privacy, an issue that will shape the internet economy for years to come.

Why it matters: Absent any U.S. government intervention, tech companies are introducing rules that favor their own ideals and business models, sometimes at their peers' expense.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

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